Mujaddara

homemade mujaddara

[Image: a white bowl containing mujaddara, a rice-and-lentil dish with caramelized onions]

This was my dinner tonight. Mujaddara is a vegetarian rice/lentil/onion dish that I very much like, ever since I first discovered it back in 2009. Of course, the mujaddara I had back then was VERY different than the recipes I have found since.

restaurant mujaddara

[Image: a plate of food containing very yellow mujaddara, hummus, and a tomato-cucumber-pepper salad]

This is the mujaddara plate from Mediterranean Grill House in Mountain View. I started going there occasionally in 2009, after I lost my job. The mujaddara was the biggest bang for your buck there. You got a TON of food for cheap. As a bonus, you always got your food super-fast because they didn’t have to grill any meat. I tried it once on a whim, really liked it, and continued ordering it there even after I got a new job. I continued visiting Mediterranean Grill House until I moved, back in January. (Also, they had switched their soda machine from Coke to Pepsi, which broke my heart.)

So yeah, I thought mujaddara was supposed to be bright yellow for the longest time. And that it should contain macaroni (?!). Imagine my surprise when I ordered the same dish from Palo Alto’s Mediterranean Wraps. That one was much more inline with the recipe I made tonight as well as basically every recipe I’ve seen on the internet. (It also instilled in me the idea that since both my local places offered it, every Mediterranean or Middle Eastern restaurant would have this on their menu. This is not true, and it super-bums me out that my current local kebab place doesn’t have it.)

I’ve tried a couple different recipes, and none of them have quite hit my craving yet. Tonight’s recipe was from Budget Bytes. I’ve also tried this one from Food 52. I’ve looked at this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, but I haven’t tried it yet. Once I hit upon a combination I dig, I’ll post the recipe here.

Tomorrow morning I’m going to have it with an over-easy egg for breakfast. Yum.

Jodhpurs

M4960

[Image: the pattern envelope for McCall 4960. On the left, a photo of a woman wearing a tan turtleneck and some truly hideous brown jodhpurs. In the middle, a drawing of a women wearing a white turtleneck and sweater with some amazingly terrible pleated jodhpurs in a plaid pattern. On the right, a drawing of a woman in a white button-down shirt and really awful off-white pleated jodhpurs.]

Look what I got in the mail today! A couple years ago, I sort of half-assed my way through a pair of jodhpurs for a costume of Asami Sato from The Legend of Korra. Basically I just ballooned some pants above the knee and put in an elastic waistband. I’m not going to lie, they’re pretty terrible. The crotch is quite unflattering. As well as the butt. (You’ll notice I did not link to a photo of me standing.) This year, I want to remake those pants so I’m less ashamed of them.

It’ll be difficult to believe, but I could not find a pattern for jodhpurs anywhere (and by “anywhere,” I mean from any of the McCall companies). So I took to eBay to see if there were any old patterns. This one’s from 1990.

As you may be able to tell from the photo caption, I don’t have a high opinion of jodhpurs. They’re just the worst. But I love that the B and C variations on the pattern add pleats, because nothing adds pizzazz to trousers like pleats! And pleats in two different kinds! Just in case you have those days where you have to debate between two giant pleats or six smaller ones.

Coconut Macaroons

(adapted from David Leibovitz)

coconut macaroons

[Image: 43 golden-toasty coconut macaroons on a wire cooling rack on a green tablecloth.]

4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp honey
2 1/2 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1/4 cup flour (see note)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Note:
If you’re making these for Passover, grind up matzoh in a spice/coffee grinder instead.

Mix all ingredients except vanilla in a large nonstick skillet over low to medium heat. Stir, and do not stop stirring. Things will look a little dire at first, but they’ll coalesce soon enough. Keep stirring.

When the mixture starts to scorch (I take this to mean darken a bit in color and make schlorpy noises when you move it around the pan), remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature. I recommend a narrow container with as little exposed surface area as possible. Press some plastic wrap down on it to minimize air contact. (At this point, the mixture can be refrigerated for up to one week, or frozen for up to two months. Bring it back to room temperature before baking if you do this.)

Heat oven to 350 and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Form dough into 1-inch mounds with your hands and space evenly on the baking sheet. Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating halfway through. Do not be tempted to pull them early, the darker they get, the better they taste! I sometimes use the convection setting for the second half of baking in order to get the edges dark and crispy. Cool completely before serving.

(These get better in the days following baking, so if you have the time, make them early. I store them in an unsealed zip-top bag in order to preserve their texture. Sealing it will soften them.)

Lupicia Golden Honey Dew Rooibos Tea

Lupicia Golden Honey Dew Rooibos Tea tin

[Image: a round metal tin of Lupicia’s Golden Honey Dew Rooibos Tea. Image from Steepster.com]

I visited Lupicia’s San Francisco store last weekend with my friend TeapotGirl, and it never fails that I pick up something new. However, if a new tea comes in, another must leave. And so it is with sadness that I bid farewell to Lupicia’s Golden Honey Dew Rooibos Tea, which is one of the most delicious iced teas I’ve ever tasted. I don’t even like honeydew melons, but this is so good.

A steeping note, if you ever find yourself in possession of this beauty. Since it’s only available in leaf form, I don’t recommend pouring the water over whatever your steeping mode of choice is. The leaves/twiggy components in the tea are very small and easily jostled out of a bag (I get my bags in giant packs at Daiso). Pour the water first, then gently place the bag into it.

Lupicia’s Golden Honey Dew Rooibos Tea can be ordered here.

Happy Eleventh Birthday!

I mean, technically. This blog was started March 22, 2004. Here was my first post and first recipe. We’ve since nuked the original site design, but look! Cute! That top image was from an apron my sister-in-law embroidered for me.

I will not lie that I’ve neglected this place for a long, long time. My last post on Braisin’ Hussy 1.0 was in 2010. And then I made a comment on that post directing people to Braisin’ Hussy… let’s call it 1.5, which was hosted here on WordPress. It’s still there, as a monument to my quite pathetic attempt to start blogging again, which lasted all of 24 posts.

But this time will be different! Probably! Braisin’ Hussy 2.0! Woo! Let’s go!

(I’ll do my best.)

Plum Cake

(adapted/simplified from the smitten kitchen, which was adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours)

1.5 cups AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
5 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
8 small plums, halved and pitted

Heat oven to 350. Butter and flour an 8×8 baking dish. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until homogenized, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time. Continue beating, adding the oil, zest, and vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Arrange the plum halves cut side up on top of the batter in a 4×4 grid. Press the plums into the batter.

Bake, and start checking for doneness at the 30 minute mark. Cake is done when the top has browned and puffed up around the plums, and when a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool on rack for 15 minutes, then de-pan. Cake may be stored for up to 2 days at room temperature.

Tea Time!

I had my friend Joa over for tea today. Joa used to work with me, but she left to go have an adorable baby. Luna is so cute. She’s 7 months old, crawling all around, pulling herself up (and falling right back down again). We had a delightful time.

I made banana bread and some tea sandwiches. The plums on the outside tree are about a week away from full ripeness. I made a sandwich with some cream cheese and the closest to ripeness plum I could find, sliced thin and sprinkled with sugar. For a more savory sandwich, I buttered some bread and put slices of cheddar cheese with some Branston Pickle.

Look at this hella fancy spread.

Salt: Critical Mass

I think I’ve finally hit the edge of what is too much salt in my snickerdoodles. I made a batch on Saturday. I doubled the salt (1 teaspoon table salt), added a dash of kosher salt to the cinnamon-sugar mix, sprinkled the baking sheet with kosher salt, and finally put a few crystals on top of each sphere. I’m not even sure these are cookies anymore. They’re totally my division when it comes to sweets, but I think they won’t be finding many champions in the general populace. I’ve also added an additional step to my baking of them. When rotating the baking sheets, make sure to whack the bottom of the sheet on the open oven door. This makes them collapse more quickly. Salty and crispy. I like to call them “cookie chips” in the same tone that the ad announcer says “coooooooooookie crisp.”

In other news, man is it a pain to remove infinite scrolling from one’s blog. =/

Bavarian Pretzel Rolls

1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tsp honey
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp table salt
4 Tbsp butter, melted
2 quarts water
1/2 cup baking soda
salt (Pretzel or Kosher salt for sprinkling)

In a mixer bowl, add yeast and 1 1/2 cups warm water and let stand for about 5 minutes until it foams and smells yeasty.

Add honey, flour, salt, and melted butter. Mix with the dough hook until it forms a dough ball, about a couple minutes.

Cover and let rise about 1 hour. Punch down and turn ball out onto a lightly floured counter.

Roll dough into a “rope” and cut into the approximate sizes you want your rolls—about 12-16 rolls. Shape into rolls.

Put the rolls on 2 parchment lined cookie sheet or two. Cover and let rise another 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 425 (use the convection setting if you’ve got it) and set 2 quarts of water to boiling.

When water is boiling, slowly (carefully!) pour baking soda into the water.

2 or 3 at a time (don’t crowd the pot), poach the rolls in the baking soda bath. About 30 seconds in the water, then remove with a slotted spoon or spider. Place back on cookie sheets.

Sprinkle with pretzel or kosher salt while still damp. Score tops with an X. (As you’ll see below, this really only attempts to persuade the pretzels—they basically expand whichever way they want to.)

Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes. Rotate cookie sheets top to bottom and back to front halfway through baking.